Tim Marshall is a leading authority on geopolitics whose previous books include Prisoners of Geography and The Power of Geography. The Future of Geography: How Power and Politics in Space Will Change Our World (Elliott & Thompson), a Sunday Times bestseller and Book of the Year, is shortlisted in the Non-Fiction category of the 2024 Indie Book Awards.

Tell us about the bookshelves in your home (how many; which rooms; mix of read and unread; how you arrange your bookshelves…)

How many books? Not enough… Having moved house so often I have unfortunately weeded out too many books I wish I still had. So I have perhaps a mere 150 or so. They are arranged in a system trained bibliophiles know as ‘haphazard’. Almost all of them have been read, although there are one or two ‘part read’ – which I know is a sin in some eyes. I recently started Brave New World and quickly gave up.

Which books are your most recent bookshelf additions?

A Short History of India by Gordon Kerr and The Coming Wave by Mustafa Suleyman, which is about AI. 

Do you judge people by their bookshelves?

Only if they haven’t read them.

Which is your most treasured book?

A dog-eared paperback copy of A Moveable Feast by Hemingway. I read it as a young correspondent when I was living in Paris and learned both about the city and how to write short sentences.

What do your bookshelves say about you?

This bloke (it has to be a bloke – the books are a dead giveaway) is interested in sci-fi, the Vietnam War, current affairs, football and Ernest Hemingway. He’s probably over 50…

What’s the oldest book on your shelf?

The Bible.

Do you rearrange your bookshelves often – and where do your replaced books go?

The beauty of arranging your books in a haphazard manner is that you never have to rearrange them. Those which leave the library mostly go to the charity shop.

Do you have any books from your childhood on your shelf?

Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School.

Book lender, book giver or book borrower?

All three. And I even give them back! Mostly.

Whose bookshelves are you most curious about?

Strangers and politicians, who are often the same thing.

Tim Marshall is a journalist and author. As the longstanding foreign affairs editor and then diplomatic editor for Sky News, he reported from thirty countries and covered the events of twelve wars. The Future of Geography is out now in paperback from Elliott & Thompson.
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Author photo by Nick Gregan